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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Reminder - CASCA 2016 Roundtable Session: Call for Participants - Working Title: “Medical Anthropology, CIHR and SSHRC: Strategizing for Funding Inclusion in Uncertain Times.”

Reminder/Rappel - CASCA 2016 Roundtable Session: Call for Participants

Working Title: "Medical Anthropology, CIHR and SSHRC: Strategizing for
Funding Inclusion in Uncertain Times."


Emma Varley, Chair of the Canadian Medical Anthropology Network

Assistant Professor, Brandon University

*Roundtable Abstract and Goals*

Changes to national funding landscapes, evolving institutional objectives
and shifting donor agency priority research areas have had significant and
sometimes damaging impacts on the nature, scope and methods of our medical
anthropology studies and inquiry both in Canada and internationally. In
response, this roundtable revisits the Canadian Medical Anthropology
Network's 2011 manifesto, "The End of Medical Anthropology in Canada?",
which issued an urgent call for renewed dialogue and activism around
medical anthropologists' ability to be funded by SSRHC and CIHR (

Reduced funding for medical anthropology research has impacted the scope of
our work and the ways we share our findings with diverse audiences,
beneficiaries and stakeholders. In turn, the pressures placed on medical
anthropologists to 'fit' into SSHRC and CIHR eligibility criteria push us
to cloak our research either in the non-health terms asked by SSHRC, or
subordinate it to the public health and medicine approaches preferred by

How do these changes and pressures affect our discipline's role in Canadian
academic and applied health settings? What do anthropologists do to ensure
anthropological approaches become more central to expanded public health
research and interventions at national and global levels?

Medical anthropologists active within and beyond academia are invited to
share their experiences of these changes, the strategies they use to
navigate diminished national research funding opportunities, and their
thoughts on where the Canadian Medical Anthropology Network (CMA) should go
next with its networking, activism and mobilization, especially as new
opportunities for disciplinary advocacy arise in a post-Harper era.

Interested medical anthropologists are warmly encouraged to join the
roundtable to talk about their experiences with one or more of the
following issues:

- *Our positioning betwixt and between the social and health sciences:*
How do we qualify our work according to public health and health science
approaches, evidentiary expectations, methods and metrics? In
what ways do
public health concerns or interventions require our creative response?
- *Our navigations and negotiations of CIHR and SSHRC funding criteria,
priority areas, and regulations:* How do we explain the importance of
anthropological methods and evidence for health research, or for
policy and
programming? How can we insert deep forms of critical inquiry and
engagement into the health research approaches preferred by CIHR, or the
'non-health' social science approaches emphasized by SSHRC? How do we
navigate CIHR concerns for our 'productivity', particularly as
it compares
with public health outputs?
- *Our retooling of medical anthropological language and methods in
clinical medical and public health terms:* How do we draw on
interdisciplinary language and approaches to 'win over' grant
reviewers, or
convince them of the merits of an anthropological approach? What kinds of
methods, theory and evidence 'count' in order for our work to be
fundable? How do CIHR and SSHRC funding criteria lead some applicants to
tactically sublimate the anthropology focus of their work? How do these
concessions impact our research once it is funded?
- *The impacts of the mixed-methods and positivist interdisciplinary
approaches on the perceived usefulness, quality, effectiveness and
'worthiness' of medical anthropological research approaches:* In which
ways can we seize on and reconfigure these preferred methodologies in
anthropological terms and capture 'better' evidence, or produce more
'successful' results? How do we draw on the strengths of
research, or communicate our concerns about its drawbacks?
- *If not CIHR or SSHRC, then what? *Which other funding bodies,
agencies and opportunities support our work? How is our work
affected when
we seek funds from private or non-governmental sectors, or from outside
Canada altogether?

The results of this roundtable will guide future advocacy and activism by
the Canadian Medical Anthropology Network in the following areas:

- Medical anthropology's inclusion in CIHR's Research Pillars and
SSHRC's Future Challenge Areas, expanded funding for non-medical,
health-focused studies by medical anthropologists, and ensuring that our
work is evaluated on anthropological terms.
- Strengthening the CMA as a forum for the development of stronger
intra-professional alliances among medical anthropologists – scholars,
students and practitioners alike.

Interested participants are asked to share their institutional affiliation,
contact information and a 200-word abstract concerning their proposed
discussion topic/s with the roundtable organizer by Sunday, January 31,

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